Mark Podwal: Juxtapositions of Understanding

Through July 8, 2024

Driedel Menorah Orange

In Every Generation piece of artwork

“Mark Podwal: Juxtapositions of Understanding,” presents 14 works by the noted artist, author, filmmaker, and physician Mark Podwal. Employing imagery inspired by Jewish history, traditions, legends, and mysticism in unexpected juxtapositions, Podwal reveals eternal values that have advanced Jewish identity and peoplehood across the millennia.

Podwal’s images express the full range of Jewish experience, from celebration to existential crisis, offering powerful commentary on Jewish history, antisemitism, the Holocaust, and contemporary events.

Cynthia Ozick, whom the New York Times has described as “the best writer of prose in America,” has described his art as “fresh juxtapositions of understanding… A menorah, inverted, is all at once shocked into the shape of railroad tracks.”

Talmud typewriter

Podwal notes, “Preoccupied with Jewish history and fascinated by its traditions, legends, and mysticism, I have tried to imaginatively interpret and faithfully transmit my heritage through pictorial narratives. Much of my art entails composing visual metaphors adapted from Jewish symbols and iconography. Franz Kafka once described writing as a form of prayer, and that definition has resonated with me. For me drawing is a form of prayer.”

Mark Podwal’s most recent book, A Collage of Customs available from HUC Press features his imaginative and inventive interpretations of woodcuts from a 16th-century Sefer Minhagim (Book of Customs) presenting these historic images in a new light.

Sketch of an Israeli tank with a menorahIn the Media

Dr. Bernard Heller Museum
Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion
One West Fourth Street, New York

Admission: Free
Hours: Mondays-Thursdays, 9 am – 6:30 pm
Tours/Information: 212-824-2218;